Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Takeaway

"What I Didn't Like About My Last Job."

Periodically I check the stats of my blog: where visitors came from, how long they stayed, if they came back... And I have a list of keywords that people have been searching for when they find my blog. This phrase was in the list today.

It's easy to say what you don't like about your job, or your last job, and often you say to yourself, in my next job, I won't do this, or work with this person. But by looking for the negatives, you often don't see what you actually want, as opposed to what you don't want.

For example: my first apartment had no door to the bedroom. Just a jamb. I solved this problem by making a large heavy curtain for an impromptu "door." And I told myself, in my next apartment, I don't want a bedroom without a door. When I moved, I was very happy that the bedroom had a door, and I could hang a full length mirror on it. What I didn't realize was that the door won't shut. The frame is warped and it falls open unless propped closed with a shoe. I was so focused on the fact that I had a door, I didn't really think about what I would do with a door that didn't shut.

And so, when you consider changing jobs, don't just look at what you don't like. Don't think about the co-worker who annoys you constantly, or the location of your desk, or the no-casual-Friday policy. Think about what you want: a friendly office environment, private or semi-private space to work, and a relaxed dress code.

Remember that every office is going to have something you won't like. My most successful job yet was in a place where I had a great mentor and was learning so much, and yet, I was constantly being dumped on by the "coolest kids in school." Probably, my career would be more steady if I hadn't said, "I'm sick of being bullied," and tried to move to a place that was a terrible fit. I took it because I wanted more money and less bossiness in the office. It was a bad move because I was so happy to get away from the bossy egos at one job, that I didn't really consider the new personalities I would encounter, who were a much worse fit. In fact, looking back, I miss my job with my mentor. I let the negatives control my outlook, and the outcome wasn't the best one.

Whoever you are, searching for what you didn't like about your last job, I hope you can look at the negatives and turn them into positives to guide you in your career. You don't have to be Pollyanna. Just don't be a Negative Norman.

1 responses:

Victoria said...

Oh definitely good advice... the kind of advice that we all know but need to be reminded of constantly.

On a side note, I prefer the term 'Negative Nancy'!


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